Dr. Bruce Banner, thanks to a gamma ray experiment gone wrong, transforms into a giant green-skinned hulk whenever his pulse rate gets too high. Meanwhile, a soldier uses the same technology to become an evil version of the original.
Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates.
Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
A robotic warrior from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a 20-year old drifter and his future wife from an most advanced robotic assassin and to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.
When a cure is found to treat mutations, lines are drawn amongst the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier, and the Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto.
Jake Riley is working on the "Torch" case, a psycho serial killer, who kills women with kids and sets them on fire after they are dead. The killer calls Riley sometimes and now, that Riley retires, the killer has no person to play against anymore. The NSA comes into play here and offers a job to Riley. A replicant, or better a clone of the killer should help him find the real one, as kind of test if it works out. Now Riley is back on track, with a clone of the killer at his hand on the way to discover that nobody is born as murderer. Written by
as a retired Van Damme fan, I was actually really surprised.
I used to be Jean-Claude Van Damme's biggest fan back when I was 13 or so, having seen HARD TARGET on video and then watching every subsequent Van Damme movie up to MAXIMUM RISK (which for some reason I just didn't feel like watching). As it would turn out, I didn't end up seeing any more of his work for the next five years or so, half because it just sounded awful (UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 2) and half because it didn't make it to the theater. Now I'm in video stores all the time seeing flicks like LEGIONNAIRE, DERAILED, and DESERT HEAT, wondering "when did that come out?". They just seem to spring up without warning. REPLICANT was one of those, and I laughed when I first saw the poster in a video store, immediately assuming it was just some awful BLADE RUNNER rip-off.
That said, I finally broke down after two years and rented it based on all the positive stuff I've heard, and I'll say I'll have to go with the flow on this one - it's surprisingly good! Van Damme looks a bit older but he's still in great shape and has more energy than your typical 14-year-old. The problem was that his acting has usually been so stiff that it's hard to root for him as the good guy (watching SUDDEN DEATH I actually was hoping the bad guys would win) - not the case with this movie.
No, believe it or not, Van Damme actually displays an amazing, intriguing, and very believable performance (or is it one?) playing the moronic and childish clone. Michael Rooker, the other reason I broke down and rented this movie, has some really great scenes like when he gets so angered by a call from the psycho-killer that he throws the phone on the ground and smashes it into a million pieces. Rooker also looks a great deal younger and in better shape than in THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS or THE BONE COLLECTOR, playing a more youthfully-minded loner as opposed to a tired old sheriff or something. While this film has a really familiar concept, a lot of those "oh god that's dumb!" moments, and some pretty unmotivated fight scenes (why have the scene where he beats up all the government types in the abandoned building - why were they even there in the first place?), it's really good considering they had a great deal less than $10 million to make this movie, about half of what it would cost to even hire Schwarzenegger to do a film. Take this movie and the extremely similar THE 6TH DAY and run them side by side, and it's almost sad how much better Van Damme's acting is, how much better the cloning concept is handled, and how surprisingly "fresh" everything seems.
Van Damme really does a good job and actually made me care about his character (the clone one, anyway). The best scenes in the movie though have to be Van Damme as the evil twin cutting a swarth of destruction around the city - like kicking old ladies, shooting corpses, or (my favorite) when he shoots the driver of a stopped car he's running past in an intersection FOR NO REASON! If actions spoke louder than words, Jean-Claude would have at least one Academy Award.
Well worth a rental for anyone actually interested in this movie enough to find themselves reading this.
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